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Base Metals Mixed; Copper Slips 0.6%

Stocks in this article: AA SWC UBS

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Base metals were mixed Tuesday with the dollar index relatively flat.

Positive economic data from the U.S. and eurozone could push base metals higher, but tight supply conditions for metals like copper will cushion the price rise.

November advance retail sales from the U.S. are seen increasing by 0.6% as compared to 1.2% in October. The Producer Price Index for November is estimated at 0.6%, higher than October's 0.4%. October business inventories are forecast at 1%, marginally above the 0.9% recorded in September.

Goldman Sachs forecasts that metal prices are likely to diverge following their respective fundamentals as emerging-market economies run ahead and demand recovers in the developed nations, Reuters reports. It further added that metals with tight cyclical fundamentals like copper and zinc may outperform aluminum, which has readily available capacity, and nickel. Copper may hit fresh highs above $11,000, the forecast says.


After touching all-time highs Monday, copper for three-month delivery fell 0.6% to $9,167 per metric tonne on the London Metal Exchange as investors locked in profits. Meanwhile, copper spot prices are trading at a premium of $70 per tonne, the highest in two years, pointing toward tight supply conditions with an upward trend for prices.

Retreating from its 52-week lows, copper inventories added 1,825 tonnes to close at 350,450 tonnes. The metal faces support at $9,090 and resistance at $9,319.

Southern Copper (SCCO) closed at $47.32 Monday, finding support at $46.68 and resistance at $47.93. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) closed at $115.53, with support and resistance at $114.15 and $117.15, respectively. Teck Resources (TCK) closed at $57.27, with support at $56.82 and resistance at $58.10.


Aluminum for three-month delivery edged up 0.2% to $2,335 per tonne. Inventories narrowed 1,650 tonnes to close at 4.27 million tonnes. The metal faces support and resistance at $2,324 and $2,357, respectively.

Alcoa (AA) closed at $14.36 Monday, finding support and resistance at $14.26 and $14.48, respectively. Century Aluminum (CENX) closed at $15.92, with support at $15.75 and resistance at $16.25. Kaiser Aluminum (KALU) closed at $50.98, finding support at $50.63 and resistance at $51.67.

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